Black Wattle’s place in the ecosystem
This afternoon whilst out in the garden I was looking at a very sickly Black Wattle, (Acacia melanoxylon). I often hear people say how useless these wattle trees are and that they should be removed as they will die in a few years anyway.
As I was about to succumb to popular opinion and fetch the chainsaw, I noticed 3 Tawny Frog-mouths resting in its branches. The pile of droppings beneath them revealed that this was a favourite tree of theirs and that its removal would be of some inconvenience to them. Further investigation of the tree revealed how, not only the frog mouths, but many other animals called this tree home. The numerous holes and the sawdust at the base of the tree were made by Goat Moth larva (a favorite for the Black Cockatoos). The larva burrows through the tree for up to 5 years before pupating and causes the trees eventual death. The sawdust at the base was home to worms, a centipede and a variety of insects. Ant nests had been constructed in the vacated larva holes and spiders were casing the trunk looking for a quick meal. It was a real ecosystem before my eyes. And if that wasn’t enough when I went out at night to empty the scraps I found a Green Tree Frog sitting in its branches. Needless to say the wattle, which is home to so many, still stands.
Written by Phil Boyle